Hello! I’m Abbie, an NSF-funded postdoctoral research fellow in astronomy at MSU (working with Jay Strader) and U of M (working with Jon Miller). I research how matter behaves in strong gravity using spectral-timing analysis of X-ray binaries (see my research page for more details). I’m on the Steering Committee for STROBE-X (a proposed NASA Probe-class mission), a NICER affiliated scientist in the Bursts & Accretion and Observatory Science working groups, and a 2018 Google Summer of Code mentor for Stingray software. I’m also involved in the Python in astronomy and open science communities. Swing by my blog or Twitter to see what I’m up to, and say hi at the next conference!
In April 2018 I completed my PhD in astronomy with Phil Uttley at the Anton Pannekoek Institute, University of Amsterdam. In Amsterdam I was a Nerd Nite co-boss, founding member and chair of the API PhD and Postdoc Council, and organizer for journal club and Timing Club. My PhD thesis is available online here!
I loved living in Amsterdam for 4+ years (I lived in Oost), and I’ve compiled an Amsterdam travel guide you should look at if you’re visiting there!
I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for two years while working towards my MSc in astrophysics at the University of Alberta, and I defended in August 2013. My thesis, “Understanding Parameter Degeneracies in Neutron Star X-ray Light Curves”, involved simulating neutron star thermonuclear X-ray burst oscillations and fitting the pulse profiles with an evolutionary optimization algorithm. My thesis available here and the paper that came out of this work is available here.
While in Edmonton I was a part of the Assiniboia Community Housing Co-operative, a progressive housing co-operative that strives for social and environmental activism in the context of community living. Members have been working on an archive of the co-op’s rich history, which you can read here.
I did my undergrad at Bard College, a small liberal arts school in upstate New York, where I majored in physics and unofficially minored in mathematics. In my senior year I completed an undergraduate thesis in general relativity (titled “A Mathematical Exploration of Low-Dimensional Black Holes”, available here) and received a Bachelor of Arts in May 2011.
At Bard I was also involved in theater and choir. I was in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, two opera choruses (David Bruce’s A Bird In Your Ear and Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges), an opera workshop piece, two 24-hour theater festivals, and a staged cantata. I also sang in the Chamber Singers for 4 semesters.
Originally from Rochester, NY, I graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at (what was then called) Wilson Magnet High School in 2007. At Wilson, I was actively involved in Girls’ Varsity Swimming and Drama/Video Club (now Dream Visualize Create, a community theater group).
In my free time, I enjoy knitting, listening to podcasts, watching tv (usually sci-fi/action/political/thriller), interior and graphic design, internet memes, and cute animals. I love to go on long walks (especially with my dog) and casual bike rides, and I’ve done a lot of yoga (particularly Iyengar) over the years. There are many blogs that I read on a regular basis, and I drink a lot of tea. I travel often (for work and for fun), and my favourite places to visit in a new city are the natural history museum and the nicest park. My blog, updated sporadically, is a mishmash of astronomy/academia, coding/tech, and other stuff.